iVillage (entertainment.ivillage.com) (reformatted), January 2006
Lucy Liu Joins the Chan Clan
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) – Charlie Chan’s No. 1 granddaughter will be taking up the family business.
A long-gestating project will star Lucy Liu as the Chinese-American detective’s granddaughter in an update of the popular series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The “Charlie’s Angels” actress will also executive produce.
“It’s a reinvention of the franchise that credibly passes on the baton to Lucy Liu as the lead character and lead of the franchise,” says TV executive-turned-screenwriter Dan McDermott who will write the screenplay for Fox.
Charlie Chan, created by Earl Derr Biggers, became a popular low-budget movie fixture in the ’30s and ’40s. As a detective for the Honolulu Police Department, Chan (in his signature white fedora and suit) would stumble upon a murder mystery in an exotic locale and solve the case in spite of the bumbling efforts of his No. 1 or No. 2 son.
Today, many decry the films for using Caucasian actors — such as Warner Oland, Sidney Toler or Roland Winters — to portray Chan in “yellow face.” Also, the older films often perpetuated stereotypes with Chan’s mangled take on English-language proverbs such as “Owner of face cannot always see nose” or “Shot in dark sometime find eye of bull.”
Besides the numerous early Chan films, a Hanna-Barbera animated series called “The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan” sprang up in the early ’70s featuring a mix of Asian voice actors and Jodie Foster as Anne Chan.
Although Liu hasn’t been seen on screen since playing the ill-fated O-Ren Ishii in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill, Vol. 1,” she’s been busy with an upcoming slate that includes Tony Scott’s model-turned-bounty hunter film “Domino,” the indie drama “3 Needles,” the thriller “Lucky Number Slevin,” the vampire film “Rise,” New Line’s comedy “The Cleaner” and indie thriller “Devil to Pay.”